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Plato

Gorgias

October 9, 2001
Ethics 112 Grier

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Socrates is obsessed with the idea of justice, especially as it pertains to knowledge.In the Gorgias, justice is discussed as it pertains to oratory as well as what constitutes greater injustice, committing or suffering, and punishment and justice.In thefirst argument, Socrates engages Gorgias in a discussion of justice and teaching right and wrong when teaching oratory.Because a good orator should be able to convince people who do not know something that he does and he is right, the potentiality for injustice is great.At the conclusion of the entire dialogue Socrates finds oratory to be a deplorable occupation because it does not, "…practice justice and the rest of excellence both in life and in death." (113)
Gorgias' disclaimer on justice in oratory triggers the debate.He points out what Socrates needs to prove that oratory is basically useless in society.In some circumstances Gorgias might compel one because he states that morality for morality's sake is the backbone of justice in oratory.He argues that the art of oratory is itself just but that the individuals can use it unjustly if they choose.Gorgias also adds that just because of a few individuals who are unjust oratory is still just.Socrates shows Gorgias that he is wrong by showing that he has crossed himself in proving, logically, that it is impossible for oratory to be used unjustly and then comparing that proof to Gorgias' statements about injustice and the individual.Socrates does not really argue so much as point out Gorgias' mistake.
Socrates is clearly the winner in this debate.Gorgias had not even concluded his argument when Polus interrupted.Gorgias states before the actual debate begins that he would support his argument but all he did was reinforce Socrates'.Gorgias cannot see or does not see the flagrant contradictions when he speaks of justic…

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